Douglas, Curry counties still reeling from storms
Southwest Oregon continued to dig out from a snowstorm Thursday, though more than 10,000 Douglas County residents remained without electricity.
The Douglas County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency, which allows state agencies to expedite additional resources to the affected county. An emergency operations center has been set up at the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office to provide informational updates.
Pacific Power officials said some people may still be a few days away from seeing their power restored.
Company officials expected to make additional progress Thursday and Friday, but some customers in “remote areas or sections with especially heavy damage may not get their power back on until Sunday morning,” a company news release said.
The number still without power is down significantly from the county’s peak of more than 31,000 powerless customers Monday. More than 200 Pacific Power crew members continued to work toward full restoration by removing downed trees and repairing affected lines and other equipment.
“Even with this concentration of effort, snow on the ground and weather conditions make for slow going,” the release said.
Several shelters and warming centers have opened to assist those whose electricity has not been restored. They can be found at:
n American Red Cross Shelter at Winston Foursquare Church, 540 SE Main St., Winston
n Dream Center, 813 SE Lane St., Roseburg (Open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; call 541-673-5918 for more information)
n Yoncalla Elementary Gym, 400 First St., Yoncalla
n Sutherlin Community Center, 150 Willamette St., Sutherlin
Douglas County residents continue to weather the storm. On a Facebook Group called “The Improved Inform Me Douglas County,” several recent posts show residents trading photos of storm damage, along with tips on where to warm up and estimates on full power restoration for certain cities and neighborhoods.
“I feel like we are stuck inside of a snow globe and some (expletive deleted) keeps shaking it,” a meme posted by a user said.
Portions of several area highways also remained closed following the storm. On Thursday, Highway 138 between mileposts 21 and 60 and mileposts 11 and 2, and much of Highway 58 were closed. U.S. Highway 101 remained closed 15 miles north of Brookings due to a massive slide. A Brookings-based contractor, Tidewater Contractors, Inc., was awarded a contract to make repairs and reopen the highway.
A drone video posted on Twitter by the company showed the extent of the damage — a long stretch of gaping cracks and rippling asphalt. On Wednesday, the slide was moving at a rate of two feet an hour. On Thursday, it had slowed to about 11 inches an hour.
“That’s an ongoing issue where we’ve had slide activity almost every year,” said Oregon Department of Transportation official Dan Latham. “This is the most that most of our guys have seen as long as they’ve worked here.”
Oregon Highway 38 remained closed between Elkton and Drain, but the section from Reedsport to Elkton opened late Wednesday, according to ODOT. Emergency vehicles and local residents will be allowed to go through the closure area.
Latham said workers tend to go to the highways that have the most traffic and where the most vulnerable communities — ones that may not have a way in or out — are located.
“Elkton was one of those where they were closed on all three sides, so we’ve been working to get one access open,” Latham said. “Now we’re working on the rest of Highway 38 and 138. There are a lot of trees down. I don’t have a specific number, but (from) the pictures I’ve seen, it looks like a blast zone, with all the trees coming down.”
Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-776-4468.